Mikel Arteta praises Arsenal for adapting to secure victory against FC Zurich
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Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny has admitted that Mikel Arteta stamped his authority at the Emirates by making his players scared to cross him after he stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy. The Gabonese striker will face his former club since the first time since his departure this weekend when Chelsea take on the Gunners at Stamford Bridge.
Aubameyang enjoyed a successful stint at the Emirates after joining from Borussia Dortmund in a £56million deal on transfer deadline day in January 2018. He scored 92 goals in 163 appearances for the club, captaining his team to FA Cup glory in 2020 while he also claimed the golden boot during his first full season in north London in 2019.
However, his spell ended under a cloud after he fell out with Arteta. Amazon documentary All or Nothing revealed the Spaniard kept a dossier of Aubameyang’s time-keeping before taking the armband from him for disciplinary reasons. He then sanctioned the decision to tear up the striker’s contract this January in order for him to join Barcelona for free before his return back to the Premier League.
Now, Elneny has admitted the captaincy decision was the moment Arteta truly established his authority in the dressing room with the club starting to see the benefits now.
“Everyone looked at themselves because Mikel did that to the captain of the team, so what is he going to do with another player?” he told reporters. “This showed that now we can’t play around, now we have to be calm with the team and the way the team is going we have to stick with the team, not do something different.
“We agree with what Mikel decided because he is our boss and we just have to agree what his vision is for us. I think it unified us because now everyone was scared! Everyone is scared with their position because this happened to Aubameyang.
“We don’t allow big egos. This is the dressing room we have now. Everyone loves each other and everyone works for each other. This is what actually makes our squad really strong, because we don’t have egos in the team.
“Of course if anyone is not the captain of the team, and does a small mistake, they are going to have the same problem, and no one needs that problem.”
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Arteta has refused to take many questions on Aubameyang’s return in order to help his team maintain focus on the task at hand this weekend, with the Egyptian in agreement.
“Now we just focus on ourselves,” he said. “Aubameyang was one of our players and now he decided to go to a different team. We must focus on ourselves and look to win the game.
“We know what we are going there to do, because now we are looking for the title. Of course we are going to push and we are going to give everything to win the game.”
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